Liberty County High School had a strong goal-line stance in the final seconds of Friday’s 31-0 homecoming victory over Hephzibah at home.
The visiting team floundered on offense throughout the game but managed to generate a drive late in the fourth quarter, helped along by three critical penalties by the Panther defense.
Making their way inside the Panthers’ 10-yard line, the Rebels tried to punch through the goal line, but the ball was jarred loose and Panther Calvin Holmes scooped it up as the clock ran out.
Liberty improves to 5-0, the best start of coach Kirk Warner’s career.
“It feels good,” Warner said. “It’s not something I think about all the time. It’s always good to help the program, and I am just very happy for our seniors.”
The game pretty much had been decided by the end of the first half with Liberty holding a 24-0 lead. Panther running back Trentice Williams rushed for 82 yards on 12 carries, scoring 2 touchdowns. He also had one reception for 24 yards. Quarterback Jordan Waters pounded the pavement, rushing for 34 yards on three carries and had one touchdown. The first half was capped off by a 36-yard field goal by Joaquin Lemapu.
Both teams had a strong defensive stand during the second half of play. LCHS’ Raekwon McMillan broke the silence, rushing into the goal line on a 10-yard carry to seal the 31-0 win. McMillan finished the game with 52 yards on six carries. In all, the Panther offense generated 283 rushing yards.
Waters was 6 of 14 for 86 passing yards with only one interception. Last week’s Coastal Courier player of the week, Jacquez Williams, had another strong running game, gaining 60 yards on four carries and getting one reception for 15 yards.
Junior Panther JaMarcus Latson saw some time on the field, earning 37 yards on five carries. The Rebels’ defense double-teamed standout Panther freshman Richard LeCounte, holding him to just 15 yards and one reception for seven yards.
Earning receptions in the game were Freddie McSwain, who had one catch for 10 yards, and Chris Helvie, who had a catch good for 26 yards.
In addition to their 5-0 start, the Panthers now are on a six-game winning streak dating to last season. Warner spoke to his team after Friday’s game, warning the players that there still is a hard path ahead. He praised them for their strong goal-line stance near the end of the game but added the boys still need to put all four quarters together.
The Panthers play next Friday at Glenn Hills.